Industry Expertise & Emphasizing Women's Financial and Career Empowerment: Barbara S. Meeks Joins Moore & Van Allen
Moore & Van Allen PLLC has added Barbara S. Meeks as a Member in the Financial Regulatory Advice and Response practice group. Meeks previously served as the Associate General Counsel at Wells Fargo & Company, where she also worked with the Wells Fargo’ Women Team Network. Meeks was drawn to her work, both in-house and at firms, with financial services companies because she sees the financial industry as “a societal pillar and a critical economic engine. Whether you are an individual consumer or a Fortune 500 company, everyone has financial goals.”
Meeks’ work at Wells Fargo and the time she has spent developing her leadership skills, as well as cultivating a deep knowledge of the Financial Services industry, are important for success in the financial services world.
In-House and Law Firm Financial Services Regulatory Experience
While working in-house at Wells Fargo, Meeks led the Legal Department groups supporting commercial banking, commercial real estate, small business, wealth management finance, global banking and global retail brokerage. She also supported international and wholesale activities in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, providing her plenty of opportunities to hone her knowledge of the financial services industry. Wells Fargo is the world's fourth largest bank by market capitalization and the third largest bank in the US by total assets, and Meeks’ role provided her with a viewpoint over the industry and experience that will be invaluable in her role at Moore & Van Allen. Meeks helped Wells Fargo manage risk and navigate a complex regulatory environment. It required a deep understanding of the financial services landscape while supervising attorneys on a variety of legal and risk governance issues. Success in-house, Meeks points out, requires “a deep understanding of the business and customers to deliver proactive, strategic legal advice.”
Meeks is looking forward to putting her experience to work at a law firm. She says, “I think the key difference in a firm is you engage with more clients for a broader, industry-wide perspective.” But again, as with working in-house, knowledge of the industry is crucial; to ensure you can provide your clients with advice that scans the horizons and anticipates the changes that will inevitably come. Meeks says, “Lawyers in private practice can also spend more time analyzing or researching issues, and typically have more legal resources to dedicate to significant projects or investigations.” However, table stakes for both roles is a broad understanding of the financial services industry.
Wells Fargo Women’s Action Network
One of the major drivers for Meeks is ensuring women are empowered and have the opportunity to succeed professionally, and are given the resources to grow in their careers. This includes making sure women at all stages of life are encouraged to develop financial literacy and independence. Meeks recalls, “When my grandfather passed away years ago, my grandmother had to learn basic banking, including how to write a check. I want all women to understand their finances and how it can help them achieve their dreams.” While serving as President, Meeks was able to further a variety of initiatives; including such issues as pay equity and parental leave within Wells Fargo. Additionally, under her leadership the initiative grew to 35,000 international and national members; and the Network developed and mentored women-owned businesses and supported microfinance organizations. Meeks says, “It was a tremendous opportunity to apply my leadership skills across this larger network, and I am proud of many accomplishments.” Work with the Wells Fargo Women’s Team member network was an opportunity for Meeks to augment her leadership skills outside of the legal department, as well as have an impact on areas that are important to her.
Meeks will expand on her experience with Moore & Van Allen, working closely with Ed O’Keefe, the Financial Regulatory Advice and Response practice group co-head, on regulatory advice and inquiries. Tom Mitchell, the Firm Chairman, says, “Barbara is widely respected for her leadership and invaluable counsel . . . she brings a business approach to advising clients and we look forward to having Barbara as a Member in our firm.”